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How to get the most out of attending an open house

Blog by Kim Twohey | July 19th, 2017

The process of shopping for a new home has evolved over the past few decades as Buyers now have access to pictures and information long before they ever set foot in a house.  One thing that has not changed is the opportunity to attend open houses.  Open houses offer Buyers the chance to view a home, check out the neighborhood, and have an in-depth conversation with the Seller’s Realtor.  Here are some tips on how to get the most out of the time you spend at an open house. 

Check out the neighbourhood

When you visit an open house, plan on taking a few extra minutes to check out the neighbourhood.  Pay attention to factors that may affect your purchase decision like proximity to amenities, public transportation, types of properties around the home, condition of surrounding areas, as well as noise and light pollution, just to name a few.  Also look to see how many other homes in the immediate area are for sale.  If there are quite a few on the market, ask the Realtor hosting the open house if there is any particular reason for the high volume of listings.

Talk to the Realtor

One common objection I hear from people is that they do not want to deal with a pushy Realtor at an open house.  I have good news for you!  Most Realtors hosting an open house are friendly, willing to share information, and (this is the best part) not at all pushy!  An open house provides Buyers with the unique opportunity to meet the Seller’s Realtor and ask detailed questions about the property and neighbourhood.  You can ask the Realtor about the condition of the home, how long it has been on the market, amount of interest in the listing, and the Seller’s reason for listing.  For anyone attending an open house that does not already have a Realtor, this can also be a great way to meet a Realtor to work with in the future. 

Use the Feature Sheet

It can be tough to remember all the little details about properties.  Each open house you visit should have a feature sheet available that summarizes the most important information about the listing.  Use the back of the feature sheet to jot down additional details that are relevant to you.  This way you have all the information about each property in one spot for quick reference.  Things that you might consider taking note of include any renovations or updates you would need to do, aspects of the home that met your desired criteria, as well as things that you did not like. 

Talk to other Buyers

When you are touring an open house, be open to talking with other Buyers who are viewing the property.  Ask what they liked or did not like about the home.  Another Buyer’s perspective can be enlightening and helpful!  They may have additional insight into the neighbourhood or know of future plans for the area.  Other Buyers might have noticed something you did not such as mould, cracks, drafts, leaky taps, or upgrades that are not to code.  Sometimes, you can even luck into meeting curious neighbours who just wanted to check out the house.  When you bump into neighbours, ask what they like and do not like about the area as well as if there is anything they wish they had known before settling in. 

Tour the outside of the home

One of the benefits of an open house is that they are typically held in the middle of the day, which gives you the chance to view the yard and exterior of the home in daylight.  When touring the outside of the home, you can check out landscaping, drainage, the foundation, and the overall condition of the home.  This is a great chance to get a feel for how private or loud the backyard is. 

As a Realtor, hosting open houses is one of my favourite things to do.  I enjoy having the opportunity to help Buyers see the value in the house.  It can be so much fun meeting neighbours, other Realtors with their clients, and potential new clients who do not have a Realtor yet.  If you see one of my open house signs, please pop in and introduce yourself!